As surprising as it is to some, cryptocurrencies have become an increasingly popular asset class for new investors: Bitcoin alone holds a value of about $100 billion in current circulation, which makes it the most popular of more than 1,500 other available currencies.
Making the currencies available to investors through platforms used by intermediaries has been slower to grow. Apex Clearing plans to accelerate that growth, announcing availability of Apex Crypto beginning in the fourth quarter of 2018. While crypto-assets will be held separately from other custodied assets in both a legal and regulatory standpoint, the firm intends to provide simplified and consistent processes, whether account opening or making transfers between the entities (the two examples provided in their release) that will feel familiar to end-investors.
The Apex Crypto offering will support the most popular coins, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin, among others. Retail demand will determine what additional cryptocurrencies are added later.
In a prepared statement announcing the impending rollout, Apex referred to the process from other providers to date as “disjointed” whereas the launch of Apex Crypto “seeks to make it frictionless for the investors served by Apex Clearing clients.”
“Demand continues to surge for crypto, and Apex is meeting the needs of tech savvy investors by providing the seamless investing experience they want and expect,” said Bill Capuzzi, CEO of Apex Clearing, in the statement. “We are helping our clients break down barriers to provide the speed, efficiency and flexibility they need to serve the next generation of investors.”
Other firms are working toward custody of crytpo assets as well. Coinbase Inc. announced in May that it would be developing several tools to lure institutional investors onto its platform, which includes custodial services.